Best Summer Ever: All Hail S’Mores!

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I have a sick relationship with s’mores, guys. I am fascinated with their crunchy, gooey, sweet goodness. I REQUIRE a steady supply of ingredients for them all summer long. I’ve spent stupid amounts of time gathering recipes for the very best s’mores, and I get CRAZY excited for the first fire pit burn of the summer because that opens s’mores season as well, but … I actually don’t like them. Seriously. Not a fan. I eat about one s’more per summer, and I’m done for the season.

I think that’s the reason I seek out the very best of S’mores recipes. I mean, if you’re only going to eat ONE PER SUMMER, it better be awesome, right? Anyways, whether you eat one or enough that you don’t want to count them, if you’re looking to up your s’mores game this summer, join me as I cry, “All Hail S’mores!”

Homemade S'mores with Marshmallows Chocolate and Graham Crackers

S’mores Recipes

So you say you’re still eating the graham cracker, marshmallow, Hershey bar variety? Oh, that’s cute, but times have changed since Girl Scout camp! These pins are about to blow your freaking mind! You’re welcome.

1. Peanut Butter Cookie Reese’s S’mores – Yes, I said COOKIE, not graham cracker. This recipe is #1 on my list for a reason. Crazy for Crust knocked this one out of the park!

from Crazy for Crust

2. Two Ingredient S’mores – Amazing doesn’t have to mean difficult as proven by Let’s Dish. I tried this version last summer, and it’s pretty great! In fact, I keep these cookies out at every cookout throughout the summer just for s’mores! These travel pretty easily, too, so you could make s’mores anywhere! (Or, at least, AHEM, anywhere it’s legal to start a fire …)

3. Gourmet S’Mores Menu – So, yeah … apparently “gourmet s’mores” are a thing. I’ve never thought of my creations as gourmet, but right now I’m feeling like I have a fancy side I never even knew about. I’ve tried most of these varieties, and I just want to take this moment and thank Blush Puffs  for preparing this awesome menu for us all. (Note: I’ve tried most of these ingredients … exactly none of them were labelled “All Natural Artisan” anything … Great ideas though.)

Plus a few ideas from my own backyard …

  • Skip the Hershey bar … use Andes Mints instead. Seriously. Wow.
  • Shove a Rolo inside your marshmallow before you toast it. This works best if you have Jumbo Marshmallows and a two-prong roasting stick because it gets a little heavy as the marshmallow melts. Doesn’t matter what kind of cracker/cookie you use. This is already heaven.
  • Similar to the Grasshopper listed on the menu above, try a Peppermint Patty and a Marshmallow on Pretzel Chips. It cuts down on the sweetness a lot AND adds a salty element. HolycrapIwantwantnow!

S’mores Serving Ideas

Now that you’ve indulged in some serious s’mores goodness, it’s time to up your serving game. No more can you walk towards your camp fire with a brown paper bag full of store-packaged goodies. Oh no. Now you must create … the S’mores Bar.

1. This link is all about a woodland wedding, but in my opinion the Wedding Chicks knocked it out of the park with this idea. I probably wouldn’t go this far, but if you do and you invite me over, you’ll be my S’mores Superhero.

Marshmallows on sticks ... yummy and decorative?

2. Behold, the S’mores Bar. I love the elegant picnic-vibe in the first pic from Your Home Based Mom. I dig the simplicity (and crazy cool firepit) in the second pic from … umm, Buzzfeed? (I chased that pic around for a while and couldn’t find a proper credit.) The third pic from Mommy and Things, though, is as Goldilocks would say, “Just right!” 

S'mores Bar collage

 

3. A note on roasting sticks. There are a few camps here. Grab a stick from the woods … a little rustic for me. Unbend a wire hanger … a little someone’s-gonna-get-stabbed for my taste. Metal roasters can get hot quickly, but I’m a super fan of these Coghlan’s 9670 Telescoping Fork. Folds small for storage and has a wooden handle to that won’t get hot. Perfect.

 A tip from my back yard? Do you have a divided veggie tray, three-part serving dish, or just a couple of cute bowls you can fill up with treats and toss on a tray? Yep, those look great and work just fine! A second tip? Skip the napkins. Bring out the wipes you keep in your diaper bag. This is sticky business.

S’mores Crafts?

It’s totally a thing … not a thing I’d normally go for, but these pins are so cool, they made it to my “Pins to Actually Attempt” list.

1. As I said above, I’m a fan of the telescoping s’more stick because they’re easier to store, but these Camping Roasting Sticks from Mel Designs are super cute and would look adorable sticking out of a basket or jar on the counter on non-s’more days.

2. This roasting stick bag from Then She Made is equal parts upcycle (i.e. free) and really fun … which is kind of my jam. Hide your jeans, kids! Momma’s got a project!

3. Not exactly a craft but DEFINITELY requiring mention is the ultimate S’mores Silent Auction Basket. Ho-ly-crap! I want to make this for every school auction ever from now until the end of time. I’ll be the coolest PTA mom ever!

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A Few S’mores Fun Facts

August 10th is National S’mores Day. Say what? How did I not know this?!? It’s on my calendar now. You should probably go write it down right now.

The first s’mores recipe was published in the 1920’s in the Girl Scouts handbook called, “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.” They didn’t invent the s’more (no one really knows who did), but I’m not surprised those industrious little ladies figured out a way to turn a buck on a tasty treat.

During World War II, the Hershey Company produced ration bars for the U.S. Army. For soldiers serving all over the world it was a sweet reminder of home. (Credit: www.hersheys.com.)

So there you have it. The best of the best in the world of S’Mores. Which way will YOU go … traditional or gourmet? Telescoping or rustic tree limbs? What’s YOUR favorite way to s’more?

 

I Am, I Love, I Do: Welcome to The Katie Show!

Welcome to another installment of “I Am, I Love, I Do!’ We started with a stay-at-home mom in Okinawa, visited a former Air Force Officer gone military spouse, and now we meet Katie of The Katie Show Blog, an Australian milspouse blogger making a life and a home with her Marine in Hawaii!

I Am

Katie McIntosh is my name, and inspirational travel & lifestyle blogging is my game! I write to inspire others to see the beauty in the world, wherever they are stationed, by documenting my travels and adventures along the way as well as writing some lifestyle pieces for a healthy and happy life. It can be hard to always be ‘the new one’, adjusting as you move from duty station to duty station, so I hope my blog can serve as a community and resource to help others. Although tough at times, rest assured, it can be a great adventure too! I mean take me for example, I took a risk by leaving an established life and career for a young American Marine and here I am blogging from the tropical paradise of Hawaii! Pretty crazy isn’t it? So far, I love blogging because I get to connect with so many different people far and wide – it really is the best so don’t be shy!

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I Am, I Love, I Do: A Milspouse Blogger Guest Series

In my day job, I work within the four concrete walls of an office, so on my weekends I love to be exploring and enjoying the outdoors! As long as I am moving around and outside, I am happy. Living life to the fullest, wine and cheese, spending time outdoors, the beach, pedicures, exploring new places, swimming, good food, hiking, taking chances, coffee dates, meeting new people, local treasures, the little things, all things Beyoncé and animals of all kinds are a few of my favorite things. Oh and Instagram and Pinterest because I am seriously addicted! My two favorite animals are my furry princesses Bella and Coco Chanel who happily run my household in exchange for the right amount of cuddles and worship! I adopted them both when I moved to Hawaii and have enjoyed every day with them since.

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I Am, I Love, I Do: A Milspouse Blogger Guest Series

An Australian citizen, I moved interstate to the Northern Territory of Australia for an outback sea change in 2012. At the same time, a handsome American Marine was sent there on deployment. Months passed and we went along living our separate lives until finally meeting in his last month of deployment. Sparks flew instantly and we became the annoyingly giddy-cute couple. Soon enough, my new beau had to leave which sparked the beginning of a very long distance (and expensive) relationship. After 12,000 Facebook messages and countless hours spent travelling back and forth, I finally made the one way trip to begin a life with my American sweetheart and have been living in wedded bliss in Hawaii ever since. Who knows where we will go next? It’s all a big adventure, isn’t it?

I Am, I Love, I Do: A Milspouse Blogger Guest Series

What an interesting story, right? I thought I’d made a jump leaving my sleepy little hometown down South for a handsome Yankee kid stationed in Georgia, but that move was nothing compared to Katie’s leap of faith! Those must have been some pretty special Facebook messages, right?

If you loved Katie’s story and would like to know more, stop by and say hello! Tell her Jodi at Back on Land sent you!

www.thekatieshowblog.com

Instagram: @thekatieshowblog

Pinterest: Katie Show Blog

www.facebook.com/thekatieshowblog

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If you’re a milspouse blogger and interested in guest posting
in the “I Am, I Love, I Do” series, email me at
jodi @ backonland . com.

Dear Refit, You’re a Bitch.

Dear Refit,

Everything was going along just fine until you showed up. You’re a bitch, and I don’t like you.

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I wish you could be a little more like Offcrew. Offcrew is dependable. She brings my sailor home everyday, mostly on time, often with a smile on his face! You keep my husband out late and overnight on a regular basis, and whatever you do when you’re with him, you bring him home exhausted and grumpy.

Offcrew loves that I like to plan ahead! Whether it’s a vacation, a long weekend, or even a simple family dinner, Offcrew gets right on board and makes sure my sailor shows up on time! You seem to laugh at my plans and get your kicks out of mucking them up. It’s just plain rude.

Offcrew loves date nights! She encourages me to plan plenty of them. Perhaps she knows that once you come along, you’ll ruin those plans, too. Thank goodness for Offcrew, or I’d never see my man awake!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not much of a fan of Deployment either. Deployment takes my sailor completely away from me, messes with my head when I don’t hear from him, and makes all his clothes smell like gym socks and farts, but at least Deployment is honest. Deployment says, “I’m coming. I’m taking him. I’ll bring him back later.” Simple as that. I can at least appreciate her honesty.

Not you. You make him miss dinner, and you work him so hard he’s asleep two minutes after he eats. You tease me with free weekends that turn into Working Saturdays and phone calls at all hours.  And you’re freaking clingy! Let go already! I may not love it, but Deployment can’t pass if it never gets to begin!!!

Oh, I know what you’re going to say. “But I’m important! Deployment wouldn’t stand a chance without me!” It’s true, but you just don’t handle it very nicely.

“The boat (you know, his OTHER bride) needs work, and it always falls on me, Refit, to finish it.” I get that, too. You have to work hard, but couldn’t you at least TRY to keep somewhat of a schedule?

“A schedule? A schedule?!? I’m SO sorry I can’t schedule the maintenance of a multi-billion dollar nuclear warship around your steak kabobs!” Oh, now you’re just being nasty!

Whatever, Refit, you can suck it. You cause arguments I don’t want to have. You’re a strain on my marriage, and I generally think you stink. No one likes you so please stay away!!!

Yours,

Jodi

PS. Tell your little friend Reintegration to piss off, too. I don’t like her either.

 

 

12 Must-Know Questions to Ask Before He Deploys

Deployments are scary and stressful for a number of reasons, but one of the worst for me is fear of the unknown. What’s going on? Am I prepared? What am I supposed to do if something bad happens? A milspouse needs to be prepared for anything while her sailor is deployed, and the first place you can go for info is your sailor! Here are my 12 MUST KNOW Questions to Ask Before He Deploys.

12 MUST KNOW Questions to Ask BEFORE He Deploys: Get in the know before it's too late! FREE PRINTABLE!

What’s his rate/rank?

It may sound silly, but this is good info. I once got a call from a young spouse shortly after a mail drop was announced. I get these calls a lot. Can I send this or that? Is there a specific place to drop my package off? Can I get one extra hour on the deadline? All completely normal questions. Her question?

“The phone tree caller said to write my sailor’s rate/rank and last name on the ziploc bag … what if I don’t know his rate or rank?”

Talk to your sailor and find this out. While you’re at it, ask him about his job! What do you do everyday at sea? Is that need-to-know? No, but it’s nice to ask! The more you know, right?

What’s HIS social security number?

Trust me. Your sailor’s digits are more important than yours most of the time. You’ll need to know his social security number to make appointments, pick up prescriptions, to speak to PSD, and a host of other times. After nearly twenty years with my sailor, I get a little tripped up when someone asks for MY social security number!

What do I need to know about the command?

What the official name of the command? What is a contact number, and to whom would I be speaking if I called? If I have an emergency, who should I ask for? This is a better-safe-than-sorry question. You may never need this, but why take the chance of needing info you could have easily gotten from your sailor.

How will you communicate while he’s gone?

What’s his at sea email address? (It’s different than his navy.mil address!) Will boat email work like normal email works? (NO!) Will their be mail drops or opportunities to send care packages? How will you know about them? Speaking of which …

What the heck is a phone tree, and am I on it?

The phone tree is THE WAY to get special information while the boat is gone, and the only way to get on it is through your sailor! When your Ombudsman receives a message that needs to go out to the families, a system of volunteer phone tree callers is activated to get you that message in a timely and efficient fashion, BUT if your sailor doesn’t add your name and your CORRECT contact information to the phone tree, we may not be able to contact you.

What can you tell me about patrol?

Clearly mission information is classified, and as families we are not in the “need-to-know” category. It is nice to know some general things though. Is there a general time frame of when the boat is leaving and coming home, like this month to that month? Will the boat be alert for longer than normal? (Don’t know what “alert” means? You REALLY need to ask your sailor about this!) Even if your sailor can’t share specific details with you, it’s good to have a general idea of what’s going on!

Classified? What’s that? What are OPSEC and PERSEC?

According to www.dodea.com, OPSEC (Operations Security) is the process by which we protect unclassified information that can be used against us. PERSEC (Personal Security) means keeping your own private information secure. Ask your sailor (or your Ombudsman) for more specific information about what you can or cannot share. My rule of thumb? When in doubt, don’t share it! If you have to ask if it’s okay, it probably isn’t. The less information available to the bad guys, the better, right?

Who do I call if …?

There are lots of resources for military spouses. All you have to do is make the call and ask for help, but that’s tough if you don’t know who to call, right? First and foremost, find out the name and contact info of your Ombudsman. He or she will be able to point you towards a lot of good resources. It’s also a really good idea though to ask your sailor about Fleet and Family, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, MWR, etc. Find out what’s available to YOU!

If something bad happens, what do you want to know? How can I tell you when you’re gone?

Sigh … bad stuff happens to all of us, but send a sailor away for a patrol, and it seems like the WORST stuff happens. A death in the family, a terrible car accident, an unexpected diagnosis. Would he want to know if there was no chance of coming home? This is a tough but important conversation. While you’re at it, talk to your sailor about how that call might look. Do you know how to send a Red Cross message? Should you go to the Command or the Ombudsman first? Find out the appropriate protocol.

Who do I call when this breaks?

Because according to SubSpouse Law, as soon as your sailor leaves, everything begins to make funny noises and fall apart. Make a list of mechanics, handymen, plumbers, etc that you and your sailor trust along with their contact info. Keep it somewhere you’ll remember during a household emergency. Also, if your sailor is the handyman in the house, ask him to teach you a few tricks before he goes! You can do it! #milspousesrock

Is my name on all the right accounts in all the right ways?

You need to be able to call companies, banks, etc in the event of billing or pay issues, but if everything is in your sailor’s name only, they may not even speak to you. I’ve seen a situation when a spouse could not even make an extra payment on a loan over the phone because the account wasn’t in her name. Make sure you have access to anything and everything you’re supposed to be managing while he’s away.

Do I need a POA?

In my opinion, the answer is YES. A POA, or Power of Attorney, gives you the legal right to take care of specific situations in your sailor’s stead while he’s away, and there are lots of different things you might need it for. I personally have about five POAs, including one that allows me to obtain a new military ID card if I lose mine. Without this, getting a new card can be a nightmare (if not impossible), and if you live on base … Yeah. Check into all the POAs that are available to you and your sailor!

A few tips …

  • Check out this 12 Questions printable to make sure you’re getting all these questions answered. Man, I love a good checklist!
  • Attend your command’s Pre-Patrol Briefing! You will get lots of great information there and likely meet and hear from Command Leadership, the Ombudsman, the FRG, and many others!
  • Click here for My Deployment Binder! Another great free printable that will help you get ready for your next deployment!
  • Enroll in a Compass class! I am a HUGE fan of Compass, and I honestly believe every Navy Spouse should take the class at least once! No matter where you are in your military life, newbie or haven’t-been-new-in-a-while, you WILL learn a lot and meet some great folks!

I know this is a lot of information to throw at you, but it’s soooo important! You NEED to prepare as best your can BEFORE your sailor is off on another patrol so ask these questions TODAY! 

I Am, I Love, I Do: Meet Amanda from AirmantoMom!

In week two of my “I Am, I Love, I Do” series, I’m bringing you Amanda of AirmantoMom. I have to tell you … what caught my attention first was her great pictures. (You’ll see … the last one is adorable!) What keeps me clicking over to her blog though is her unique experience of being a military spouse after her years as an Air Force Officer!  Most spouses I know don’t have a military history in their own background, and it makes me want to know if her perspective on this life in different than mine! You’ll have to follow her to see!

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I Am

My name is Amanda and I blog at Airman2Mom! My blog is a mix of my past life, being an Air Force (AF) Officer and Civil Engineer and my current life of being a stay at home mom to my son. Most days I write about what it is like to be a stay at home mom this ranges from easy recipes, mom encouragement or just stories from our everyday life. My past life is mainly dedicated to when I was deployed to Afghanistan and sharing my experiences. I still have a military connection since my husband is in the AF. I created my blog to encourage and empower moms. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs and moms often get overlooked.

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I Love

I love traveling with my family. My husband and I traveled all over before my son was born and although our trips do not take us as far away as before we still have had some fun adventures. I also love my bible study girls and the community we have. We have play dates and an occasional girls night or day. It is an amazing group, some of the moms in the group introduced me to Mothers Of Preschoolers and I am excited I have had the opportunity to get involved in a great organization.

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I DoMy husband and I met in the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) at Fresno State. The first time we actually met he was the leader for the parking lot I was assigned to for parking at a football game. I still remember him trying to figure out where everyone was supposed to be. We did not actually start talking to each other until he was the lead planner for a trip to Lawrence Livermore National Labs (only an engineer would be excited about this trip). I had a minor crush on his friend and tried to figure out what activity his friend would be doing to ensure I was signed up for the same one. In the end it meant I was on the tour with him, his friend and another guy. We talked pretty regularly after that trip and ended up moving from friends to something more as we approached another ROTC event. It was an Army ROTC event and we were the enemy troops. If I had really looked into the trip I do not think I would have ended up going, but it was the trip that our budding romance sprung out of so it is a special memory. He graduated a year before me and after almost a year of being separated we were married. Shortly after that I graduated and followed him to New Mexico. Now we have been married for 8 years and have expanded our family to include our son and have lived in New Mexico, Ohio and California. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years will bring.

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You can follow Amanda all over the internet, but you can ask her question here today! I’d love to hear some great questions for her in the comments!

 www.airmantomom.com

www.facebook.com/airman2mom

www.twitter.com/airman2mom

www.instagram.com/airman2mom

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